David Medalla

Filipino painter and installation artist, born 1942, active in Great Britain

David Medalla (born 1942) is a Filipino international artist. His work ranges from sculpture and kinetic art to painting, installation and performance art. He lives and works in London, New York City and Paris.


  • All my work is informed by personal experience. It is the seed to which I apply a transcendent dialogue. The idea for my first bubble machine was rooted in a complex combination of many memories. During the Second World War I was in my sister’s arms when I saw a young Filipino guerrilla shot by a Japanese soldier. The young guerrilla ran into our garden. The sight of him lying there dying, red blood bubbles foaming from his mouth, made a strong impression on me. Flying over the Grand Canyon on my first trip to America, visiting a soap factory at the bottom of Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseilles, a visit to a brewery in Edinburgh in Scotland: these left deep impressions as well. My mother cooking “guinataan”, a Philippine dessert made of coconut milk and tropical fruit, and the movement of clouds over Manila Bay near where I was born, inspired me to create a work of art that would express and embody the motion of clouds.
  • In the 1960s the works of Takis and Tinguely were experiments with different forces, both magnetic and kinetic. My work differed from theirs, for although my kinetic art works used machines, the works themselves moved in random organic ways and avoided the monotonous repetitive movements of most machines. My land art projects and all the rest of my cosmic propulsions were born out of the organic and my relation with the dynamics of nature. When I first exhibited with Liliane Lijn at the Indica Gallery in London in 1967 I called my artworks bio-kinetic sculptures. Some of my artworks in that show are featured in the film I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname by the English director Michael Winner.

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